According to the State Department as well as international human rights groups, China has confiscated Korans from Uighurs and forced them to drink alcohol and eat pork, which is forbidden by Islam. “It’s one of the most serious human rights problems in the world today,” State Department official Michael Kozak said of the Uighurs’ detention as he presented the latest annual human rights report.
India, Thursday, March 28, 2019 —
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday denounced China’s “shameful hypocrisy” over its treatment of Muslims as he met a former prisoner and relatives who recounted abuses as part of Beijing’s widespread detention of its Uighur minority.
“China must release all those arbitrarily detained and end its repression,” Pompeo tweeted.
“The world cannot afford China’s shameful hypocrisy toward Muslims. On one hand, China abuses more than a million Muslims at home, but on the other, it protects violent Islamic terrorist groups from sanctions at the UN,” he said.
China Tried To Block UN Move Against Masood Azhar
Pompeo was referring to China’s efforts at the United Nations to prevent the blacklisting of Islamist extremist Masood Azhar, based in Beijing ally Pakistan. Azhar’s group Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility over a deadly attack last month on Indian troops in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama.
The top US diplomat met Tuesday with Mihrigul Tursun, a Uighur who has spoken publicly in the United States about what she said was widespread torture in China’s prisons for the minority group.
She has said she was separated from her children and detained in a cramped cell with 60 other women, suffering electrocution and beatings during round-the-clock interrogations.
China Has Launched A Crackdown On Uighurs
The State Department said that Pompeo also met with three other Uighurs whose relatives are held by China, which according to a UN report has detained a massive one million Uighurs as it seeks forcibly to integrate the minority group.
Pompeo, speaking to reporters on Tuesday, said that “certainly” at least hundreds of thousands of Uighurs had been detained.
“We’re working to convince the Chinese that this practice is abhorrent and ought to be stopped,” Pompeo said.
Physical-Emotional Torture And Round The Clock Interrogations Of Women
According to the State Department as well as international human rights groups, China has confiscated Korans from Uighurs and forced them to drink alcohol and eat pork, which is forbidden by Islam.
“It’s one of the most serious human rights problems in the world today,” State Department official Michael Kozak said of the Uighurs’ detention as he presented the latest annual human rights report.
China denies the accounts of mass detention, saying it is running educational training centres as part of a fight against Islamic extremism in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
Chinese Uighurs: All You Need to Know
In August 2018, a UN committee heard that up to one million Uighur Muslims and other Muslim groups could be being detained in the western Xinjiang region, where they’re said to be undergoing “re-education” programmes.
The claims were made by rights groups, but China denies the allegations. At the same time, there’s growing evidence of oppressive surveillance against people living in Xinjiang.
Who are the Uighurs?
The Uighurs are mostly Muslims, and number about 11 million in western China’s Xinjiang region.
They see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations, and their language is similar to Turkish.
But in recent decades, there’s been a mass migration of Han Chinese (China’s ethnic majority) to Xinjiang, and the Uighurs feel their culture and livelihoods are under threat.
What’s happening to people in Xinjiang?
In August 2018, a UN human rights committee was told there were credible reports that China had “turned the Uighur autonomous region into something that resembles a massive internment camp”. About a million people may have been detained, the committee was told.
The reports are backed by rights groups, with Human Rights Watch saying people with relatives in 26 so-called “sensitive” countries like Indonesia, Kazakhstan and Turkey have been rounded up.
Anyone who has contacted someone abroad via WhatsApp is also targeted, according to HRW.
Rights groups also say people in camps are made to learn Mandarin Chinese, swear loyalty to President Xi Jinping, and criticise or renounce their faith.
HRW says Uighur people, in particular, are subject to intense surveillance – from facial recognition cameras to QR codes on people’s doors, so officials can check the codes to see who is inside at any point. People are also reportedly made to undergo biometric tests.
The Plight of The Uighurs As Known By BBC
One Uighur man who was released from detention in 2015 (no-one appears to be freed these days) told us of a punishing schedule inside.
Ablet Tursun Tohti said those detained would be woken before dawn and would be forced to learn laws, and sing a song entitled Without the Communist Party, there can be no new China.
The BBC’s Newsnight programme also interviewed former prisoners who were able to leave for other countries. Here is what one of them, Omir, said:
“They wouldn’t let me sleep, they would hang me up for hours and would beat me. They had thick wooden and rubber batons, whips made from twisted wire, needles to pierce the skin, pliers for pulling out the nails. All these tools were displayed on the table in front of me, ready to use at any time. And I could hear other people screaming as well.”
(Inputs From BBC)